Prof. Chris Forlin

Authenticating Inclusive Education: A Reality Checklist

Prof. Chris Forlin

Inclusive education has been prominent internationally for more than three decades yet many countries continue to find implementing an inclusive approach that ensures quality education for all children very challenging. Most systems have established local policy that conforms to and supports international conventions such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Countries also confirmed their commitment to the Millennium Development Gaols of 2000 and the United Nations 2015 Sustainable Development Goals as a way of ensuring equity and inclusion in education by 2030. Yet the reality for many children is that in 2018 they are still either unable to access their local schools, or they find that inclusion has not given them the equal opportunities and quality education they should expect to receive.

Considering the hype surrounding inclusive education, the vast amount of money that has supported an inclusive approach to education, and the enormous effort that governments have put in place to enable this, a new approach to understanding the reality of inclusion is urgently needed if we are to appreciate why it is so slow to happen. During this session, I will argue that there already exists sufficient policy to provide a suitable agenda for inclusive education; but what is not available are appropriate frameworks for enabling authentic and realistic approaches to supporting and sustaining inclusive schools within local communities.

To enable inclusive education to become a realism in all schools where every child can expect to and receive excellence in education, a serious reality check is needed of what is happening in schools that is supporting or hindering progress. Drawing on my own experience in visiting numerous schools over my career, I shall provide a reality checklist that will challenge participants to take a deep and meaningful review of the state of inclusive education in their systems and to reconsider how they can support a genuine and authentic approach to enacting inclusion for all children. I will also share with participants a range of simple actions that can be implemented at minimal cost but that can make an enormous difference to providing genuine inclusive education opportunities.